FEMKE AGEMA — Interview
We are pleased to present the Amsterdam-based fashion designer Femke Agema. Founder of the fashion label Femke Agema, her collections mix interesting installation pieces and experimental outfits with wearable clothes. For this interview (part of our new Fashion Design section) she talks about the beginning of the brand, her inspirations and her vision of fashion.
Hello Femke Agema, how are you?
I’m fine, thank you Dennis. While I write this, I’m traveling by train to the Textielmuseum, because today we’re going to (digital) print the sample fabric for my new collection, so it is quite an exciting day for me. For the print I worked together with print designer Inge de Vor.
Can you introduce yourself ? Tell us more about you and the beginning of the brand.
My name is Femke Agema, and I am running a fashion label called Femke Agema. I started making collections in 2010, before that I was working as a freelance designer/artist. I was doing art projects, but at the same time I was making wearable clothes to sell. And at one point I missed to think in collections, I mean I missed telling a story with my clothes. So I decided to combine the two: wearable (and sellable) clothes and experimental objects.
What is your experience and approach to design and fashion?
Well, about my experience: I studied Fashion Design at the Utrecht School of the Arts. There I graduated in 2006. Since then I have been working on my own. Like I explained in the question above: first I had to find out what was the best way of working for me.
What do you like about your working and living place?
Can you tell us about the creative scene?
I live in a nice small cosy apartment in Amsterdam together with my boyfriend, our cat Ari and our dog Pepi. I like being home, I feel very at home in our house. We have a beautiful garden, so in summer, our home is twice as big than in winter.
My studio, the place where I work, is also quite nice. We have this thing in Holland: anti-squatting. You pay just a little rent, in return you watch over the place, like a housekeeper. The place is on the ground floor, and we have big windows, so we know some people that are living close by, we always wave to each other or do a chitchat. It is a very lively neighborhood. I work together with my interns and my friend Will, he is an English copywriter.
What’s the style definition of Femke Agema?
I would describe the style as playful, fun, fantastical and girlish-but-tough.
Installation pieces and wearable objects are part of your work.
What are your interests in product design?
I see clothes as products, I guess. For me the installation pieces and wearable objects or experimental outfits make the story of the collection way more clear than the wearable clothes can do. Plus the joy I feel when making (and watching it being finished) makes it inevitable for me to create them.
What was the idea and concept behind the Elders collection? Are you telling a story connected to the past collections with the snowpocalypse of Nigliktok and the water themed end-of-the-world Drijf collection?
I guess it is a bit connected, but this is not done on purpose. Where Drijf and Nigliktok started quite clear with the 2012-end-of-the-world-theme, Elders started vaguely with a feeling. And a longing. I was feeling a bit homesick to my childhood. Running your own company can be quite tough sometimes. So I wanted to capture (and relive) the feeling of being total free of responsibilities and to just go out and play.
Can you describe your design process?
That differs a bit per collection, but most of the time it is chaotically structured. Or structural chaotic haha.
Is there any designer or movement you appreciate a lot?
What Henrik Vibskov is doing is the example for me that it is possible to be creatively free and run a business at the same time. I find him very inspirational. I also love to watch the graduation shows from different academies. Students often don’t think about commercialism, so what they make is free. I like that.
Which books are on your bedside table?
Novels. Right now I’m reading The Hundred-year-old man who climbed out of the window and disappeared’ by Jonas Jonasson.
Next thing to do is finishing the summer collection, then hurry hurry designing the winter collection so I can finish on time, then take a short break, and in January I hope to show my work at the Amsterdam Fashion Week. Future plan is to design for men as well!
The last word…
Interview : Dennis Moya & Tiffany Baehler – 06.13
Pictures ©Femke Agema.